Little Miss Adorable is an angelic looking tiny preschooler. People regularly stop her on the street to comment on how lovely she looks – blonde hair, fair skin and blue eyes are traits of Prader-Willi Syndrome, but the overall effect is she looks like a little doll with soft blonde curls. She is a startling contrast to her brown-haired and brown-eyed family.
Prader-Willi Syndrome means that Little Miss Adorable is very tiny for her age, had very poor muscle tone and as she gets older has a high risk of morbid obesity because she will lose the ability to feel full after eating. There are also some likely learning problems that we may see as she gets older too.
All of this comes from a partial deletion on chromosome 15. Pure random luck.
Genetic quirks aside, nothing in the field of genetics prepared us for the effects of birth order on Little Miss Adorable’s development. Namely, that she is the middle child between two brothers.
I can hear sympathetic groans. Genes may be one thing, but environment is a whole other can of worms.
One can debate the impact of socialization or genetics on the age old question: What are little boys made of? What are little girls made of?
Boys, we are told, are made of slugs and snails and puppy dog tails. Whereas little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice.
Joking aside, we tried to raise our children in a gender-neutral environment and somehow my five year old’s Lego, monster trucks and race cars took over half the living room. A sea of baby dolls, strollers, purses and everything pink took over the other half. Baby Dunk crawls through the mix, biting, chewing and throwing anything in his path.
Little Miss Adorable is most definitely a girly-girl, who loves shopping, fashion, her baby dolls and tons of glitter. See The Princess Gene for more on this one.
She is charming, cuddly, and charismatic. And she can be very sweet.
But the nursery rhyme didn’t say what kind of spice little girls are made of. Sometimes I think its cayenne pepper.
Any child sandwiched between a one year old and a five year old would have a healthy case of sibling rivalry and strong self-defence skills.
Little Miss Adorable is no exception.
I described how the threat of marauding Baby Dunk near Little Miss Adorable’s baby dolls unleashes unprecedented mama bear protective instincts.
Now Little Miss Adorable has developed some offensive attack skills of her own. Although her limited gross motor ability means she is a three year old who cannot walk, she makes excellent use of her fine motor ability and keen pincer grip.
The hair pull. The pinch.
Previously any sibling confrontation resulted in a brother grabbing, pulling or squishing Little Miss Adorable while she yelled in protest. And she would wait for a parent to rescue her.
Now we are seeing the tug of war champion, trying to defend her stuff from the boisterous ways of Baby Dunk.
We are also seeing the sneak attack, ambush side of Little Miss Adorable. She cannot win against her brothers in out and out brute strength, but she can reduce them to tears with a strategic hair pull or bite. We cannot leave Baby Dunk unattended in the double stroller near Little Miss Adorable; she bites his soft pudgy fingers as soon as our backs are turned.
If Little Miss Adorable and five year old Mr. Sensitive are sitting watching a movie on the sofa, she will immobilise him with a sneak attack hair pull. She will not let go of his hair until a parent intervenes.
Little Miss Adorable has also mastered the art of active protest and passive resistance. Yells of ‘No Mine!” have filled our home for some time. Passive resistance is new. She is normally very compliant and loves the attention of doing whatever makes people happy. Now she has discovered the attention that comes with not doing whatever makes people happy.
She has learned to be naughty.
At a visit to the dentist’s office, a place she normally loves, tiny Little Miss Adorable sat in the dental chair, surrounded by a team of people imploring her to open her mouth for just a peek. There she sat, tight-lipped, smiling and refusing. The more they asked, the more she refused.
She was in the spotlight! Little Miss Adorable loved the attention and thrill of being naughty.
Now anytime I ask her to do something, she says no and bum-shuffles away, laughing.
Do you want to go out? No! flops to the ground. Laughs.
Can you clean up? No! bum-shuffles away, laughing and throwing toys.
Do you need the potty? No, bum-shuffles away, making farting noises.
She is naughty. And loves it. Her face visibly changes with the rush of power that being naughty brings.
Where do her brothers fit into this? Go back to environment and birth order and their impact on development.
Baby Dunk is a one year old with unsurpassed physical ability – he bites, kicks and hits his way through life. So far he has knocked out one of Hubby’s teeth, bruised my orbital bone, nearly broke my nose and taught all of us to dodge and avoid his slaps and punches. Changing his diaper requires skill and speed rarely seen outside of a MMA fighting ring.
Guess what Little Miss Adorable has learned from him?
The other day I grabbed a washcloth to wipe Little Miss Adorable’s face. Her two hands came up in a pugilistic pose, and she started slapping at me. She was grinning widely and obviously pleased with herself.
She was being naughty.
What’s that other nursery rhyme?
There was a little girl,
With a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very, very good,
But when she was bad, she was horrid!
For more Little Miss Adorable articles, see: